First flag-football Turkey Bowl helps feed the community

Jared Knapp (left) looks to throw as Alex Bialik (right) tries to snag the flag during the 2017 Turkey Bowl game at Manistee High School Wednesday night. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Jared Knapp (left) looks to throw as Alex Bialik (right) tries to snag the flag during the 2017 Turkey Bowl game at Manistee High School Wednesday night. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Once again a bunch of buddies came together to play a game of football, and once again the community came away the better for it.

A group of 14 players gathered braved the cold under the lights at Manistee High School Wednesday night in the 2017 edition of the Turkey Bowl, collecting 400 pounds of food for distribution by local food banks this holiday season.

Jim Sonsmith, who coordinated the event this year, said that changing from full-contact tackle football to flag football made a big difference.

“It was interesting because we would want to tackle each other, and then remember that we’re actually going for the flag,” he said. “It was definitely a different experience for a lot of us who have only played regular football. Not having to worry about injuries and things like that helped the guys relax a little bit more.”

Sonsmith hopes playing flag football may help recruit players for future Turkey Bowls, as well as creating a new recreational opportunity.

“The MRA (Manistee Recreation Association) is thinking about creating a men’s league for flag football,” he said, “so this could help to be a pilot for that, and kind of see what it would be like. We hope that we can continue to grow it. That’s for sure.”

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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